Lights automatically turn on and off at specified times. Motorized drapes open and close according to the light level in the room, without human intervention.
Creator Charles Davidson developed the perfect accessory to the smart home: Alexander, the electronic butler. Alexander is voice-activated, so Davidson can say "Alexander, I'm away," and the robot answers, "Yes, master," then alarms the house, locks the front door, turns off the lights, and powers on the answering machine. If Davidson forgets to turn off the iron and realizes this halfway up the road, he can call Alexander on the phone, and the robot turns it off. Davidson can call from anywhere in the world to check on the house (Barrie 17).
Whether a technology is sufficiently advanced to be "magic" to a particular person depends on that person's level of understanding of the technology behind the trick. For example, even caller ID is magic to those who do not understand how it works. Calling someone on the phone and hearing them answer with one's name seems like magic to many. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is technology that seems like magic to virtually everyone. An example of this is programmable matter: "Push a button, and a window becomes a wall. Flick a switch, and a chair becomes a supercomputer. Lift a lever, and a rooftop becomes a basketball court" (Cristol 17.) With this technology, microscopic devices called "quantum dots" could theoretically mimic the characteristics of any atom. When stimulated by an electrical signal, the electrons change to have the properties of a different atom, making the transformation of entire objects possible (Cristol 17).
Traffic light technology has advanced to the point where it could qualify as magic to many citizens. In London, smart traffic lights with computerized sensors can assess volumes of traffic approaching junctions and alter their own timings. They give all approaching bu